Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 2007
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 2007
Place: Seaman Baptist Church
Meet and Greet
--Welcome to all visitors and regular attenders
--Vistiors from military leave
--Visitors who are family from out of town
--Frank Phillips at the VA
--Family and friends who cannot be with us
--The reason for the season is promoted
Christmas songs of the season
Lord’s Supper/ Silent Night story
--Josef Mohr, assistant parish priest of the Church of St. Nicholas in Tyrol, Austria
--Franz Gruber, organist of the same little chapel
--The organ broken for the Christmas eve service, and the “perfect Christmas hymn” had not been written
--“You’ve done it, Father Mohr. Your have written the perfect hymn
--The replica chapel is in Frankenmuth, MI with translations written the entire path to the entrance
--As we partake in the Lord’s Supper this evening, Donna and her husband will play the song on the mandolin and guitar as we prepare our hearts
--The Lord’s Supper is for all fully devoted followers of Christ, not just members of this church
--If you have never asked Christ into your heart, you can do this while we listen to the playing of the song:
1. Admit you’re a sinner
2. Believe Christ died for your sins
3. Confess your sins to Christ, ask Him to forgive you, and commit yourself to Him
--As the elements are passed, we ask that you wait until all is served and I lead us to partake together
Passing of the Bread—1st verse of Silent Night
--On that night that Jesus was with His disciples, He said take and eat for this is my body, broken for you
Passing of the cup—2nd verse of Silent Night
--And on that same night, Jesus said Take this cup and drink it, for it is my blood for the forgiveness of sin
Advent Wreath Message
Read Christmas Story Luke 2:1-20:
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Tonight we light the entire wreath of candles
--the unbroken circle of evergreen—God is no beginning, no end, Christ has come and gives eternal life.
Hope—Jesus is our hope when we can not believe otherwise
Love—Jesus’ arrival is the absolute demonstration of true love extended to all people
Joy—Jesus gives us a joy within our hearts that no person of circumstance can ever steal away from us.
Peace—Jesus’ speaks peace to us in our world of turmoil and confusion and creates peace within us that we can share with our world
We now light the center candle that leads us to brighten our world for all to see.
As the candles are lit, allow me to share an essay I wrote a few years ago that sums up our entire month and holiday:
What is under the tree for me?
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Turning the page of the calendar and feeling the lowering of the outside temperature means one thing in our household—time to put up the Christmas tree. In the past, we would choose a fresh, cut evergreen tree, but now we blow the dust off of the large box in attic closet, and lug the artificial tree (with lights pre strung, of course) downstairs to its select area. I put the tree together and form the branches and then sit back and watch the kids eagerly decorate the bottom half of the tree with all the ornaments. Once they are finished, my wife and I move some of them to the top half for balance, and then the real anticipation begins. Gradually, some gifts with their pretty wrapping and bows begin to appear beneath the tree. Questions filled with excitement begin to form in the children’s, and big kids’, heads: “Which one is for me?” “What is underneath all that wrapping?” “What is in that big box?” The Christmas season is finally here.
We celebrate Christ’s birth at this time of year, but imagine what it was like to only know of the prophecies of His coming. There was no literal tree to put the gifts beneath, but each prophecy spoken became a form of gift wrapping that covered the box containing a precious gift representing a fulfillment of that prophetic word. As the gifts continued to gather, people would look at these brightly wrapped boxes and wonder, “Is that for me?” “When will that day come?” “Is it time, yet?” “What will that gift be?” Finally, on that gloriously starlit night, Christmas became a reality. First, shepherds and later wise men came to find the Gift that was theirs and ripped open the packaging to see the prophecy revealed. The Gifts contained hope, joy, peace, forgiveness, reunion with God, a Savior, and other great revelations of the prophecies of old. Other people over time also were able to find gifts of their own of fulfilled prophecy in the form of a cross and an empty tomb.
As you gather around the Christmas tree today, you might think that all of the gifts have been opened by those from ancient times; yet look under that tree again; there are other gifts that need to be opened. Not only are they gifts wrapped with prophecies of Christ’s return, but they are boxes covered with the precious promises of God scattered throughout the Bible. Promises of strength for your journey, comfort in times of grief, wisdom for decisions to be made, provision in times of need. If you look closer at those gifts, you will find a package with your own name on it. Once you find it, sit down and tear it open and see what great things Christ wants you to experience. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
a Or Messiah. “The Christ” (Greek) and “the Messiah” (Hebrew) both mean “the Anointed One”; also in verse 26.
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Lk 2:1-20